Friday, March 08, 2013

JLI: Doomed from the start


In case you didn’t notice it, there was a JLI (Justice League International) in the New52, but it didn’t survive (as a team, as a team, and in some cases, as constituent individuals).  In the words of faithful JLI fan and Absorbascommando CobraMisfit:
“Basically, OMAC was overridden by Brother Eye and kicked everyone's butt. They introduced three new characters to join the team who were immediately placed in the hospital thanks to OMAC. Booster and Godiva shared a kiss, then Booster got owned, failed to stop OMAC, and then had him and his future self vanish from existence because of the WW/Supes kiss.  Everyone else was either in the hospital or kicked to other third-tier teams.  It was one gigantic failure.”
It is sad, but the JLI had a target upon from the very start of the NewDCU.  The original Justice League International did have a fun and popular run… but it was predicated on the absence of “the real Justice League.”  Just as the return of the iconic Justice League meant the end of the JLI in the pre-boot DCU, so too the juggernaut of the newly forming Justice League in the 52U rendering the JLI essentially stillborn.
Some people think of the JLI as a parallel to the ‘Justice League Unlimited’ animated series, and think, “If that worked, why won’t the JLI?”  But they miss the mark.  The JLI isn’t the comic book counterpart to the JLUnltd; the Real Justice League is.  The Real League started with DC’s most iconic, longstanding heroes (um… and Cyborg) and is now expanding to include ‘auxiliary members’ (as seen in the recent Atlantis War storyline).  What the JLI is actually most parallel with is the Global Guardians.
A few of you may not even know who the Global Guardians are. Well, once upon time (a rather long time, in fact) there was a cartoon version of the Justice League BEFORE Justice League Animated. It was called ‘the Super-Friends’ and was geared toward a younger audience.  There was also for a few years an associated comic book of this Super-Friends series.  It was in that series that the Global Guardians were introduced.
The Global Guardians were a confederation of heroes from around the globe; each member was representative of a particular country or culture. 
1.Doctor Mist (Nommo of Kor, Africa) - Leader and Visionary
2.The Little Mermaid (Ulla Paske of Denmark)
3.Jack O'Lantern (Daniel Cormac of Ireland)
4.Owlwoman (Wenonah Littlebird of Oklahoma, United States)
5.Rising Sun (Izumi Yasunari of Japan)
6.Tasmanian Devil (Hugh Dawkins of Australia)
7.Seraph (Chaim Lavon of Israel)
8.Tuatara (Jeremy Wakefield of New Zealand)
9.Thunderlord (Liang Xih-k'ai of Taiwan)
10.Olympian (Aristides Demetrios of Greece)
11.Godiva (Dorcas Leigh of England)
12.Impala (M'Bulaze of South Africa)
13.Wild Huntsman (Albrecht Von Mannheim of Germany)
14.Bushmaster (Bernal Rojas of Venezuela)
15.Fire, formerly Green Fury and Green Flame (Beatriz da Costa of Brazil)
16.Icemaiden (Sigrid Nansen of Norway)
Recognize any of those names from JLI?  I’m sure you do.
After the Super-Friends comic was discontinued in 1981, the Global Guardians – a natural gimmick –were introduced in the regular DCU in 1982.  The Global Guardians are not best viewed as ‘an international version of the Justice League,” though.  They have many more members and their powers are keyed to their countries of origin.  In point of fact, they weren’t ‘the international Justice League”; they were “the present-day Legion of Super-Heroes”.  Chew on that one for a while.
If the “JLI” had not been named that, and if had been constituted more like the Global Guardians, rather than a “UN-controlled JL-lite”, it might still be with us. 


Matthew E said...

In point of fact, they weren’t ‘the international Justice League”; they were “the present-day Legion of Super-Heroes”.

I like that.

Unfortunately there aren't any nations of the world where everyone has the same innate superpower. That would be cool. "Everyone in England has prehensile hair, but mine's the most lustrous!"

Scipio said...


SallyP said...

I'm still crushed that they cancelled the new JLI. Where else can I read about Fire and Ice and Booster and so on?

You're right of course, Scipio. You usually are.

I want my Fire and Ice mini-series!

Bryan L said...

Hmm. I always liked the Global Guardians, and I liked the fact that they moved from Super Friends to the larger DC Universe. Which was not as big a jump as it may seem, since Super Friends was considered 'in continuity' -- can you imagine such a thing now? Truly, the original DCU was a wondrous and flexible organism, capable of astounding feats of co-existence and reconciliation.

But I digress. My point, and I do have one (maybe), is that I was dismayed when the first iteration of the JLI started destroying the Global Guardians back when (Jack O'Lantern corrupted and killed, Owlwoman, etc.) Fast-forward to the pre-52 DCU, and the same thing happened to the poor JLI. It was widely decried, but NO ONE stepped forward way back then to stand up for the Global Guardians. 'Course there was no Internet, so it was tougher to gather resistance. So in a very real way, the pre-52 JLI suffered the fate it had inflicted decades earlier on the GG.

I never thought about that before.

Anonymous said...

Mostly neither here nor there, but. When we think of Lady Godiva we tend to picture Olden Tymes as depicted in the video for "The Safety Dance"; but when Godiva was doing her thing, England was still entirely Anglo Saxon. Basically, Lady Godiva was a Viking woman.

(Yeah I know that the Anglo Saxons weren't really Vikings. But they were closer to Vikings than to the characters from Robin Hood movies all saying "what ho!" and "pip pip!" while sucking down tea and scones.)

Matt Celis said...

They oughta just have a Global Guardians comic book. Seraph and Jack O'Lantern's backups in Super Friends showed they can carry a story better than many other D.C. characters.